Bells Preview

Shea Lopez on who to pick for your Fantasy Surfer team

| posted on March 25, 2013

If the conditions provide classic Bells for the competition, smooth, powerful arcs will likely prevail. Photo: Joli

As I watched heats from The Drug Aware Pro, it was clear that the conditions play an important factor in determining which surfer will excel on any given day. For example: When you put a healthy and fit Dusty Payne in big, lumpy Margaret River surf, you can see his experience from big, tricky, windblown waves back home on Maui. It was that sense of comfort and confidence that allowed him to perform at his peak.

So what does that have to do with Bells? For starters, Bells will ideally run in the largest waves of the waiting period at the main site. If that doesn’t happen and the event goes mobile in search of a better venue, competitors could face conditions ranging from the user-friendly walls of Winkipop, to the raw, open ocean swells of Johanna, or even the disjointed inside break of Bells, bearing the misnomer of Rincon, as a last resort. Kelly, Parko, and Mick are most familiar and skilled at riding the varied breaks that may come into play during the event.

Kelly is coming off yet another performance that left me scratching my head in awe of his ability to control and dominate any situation. But even Kelly becomes vulnerable when conditions offer only a limited number of quality waves. Parko’s greatest weakness lies at Rincon, where he could falter if he finds himself up against one of the younger, lighter aerial enthusiasts in conditions tailor made for the light of foot. Mick consistently posts 8-to 10-point rides no matter where his heats are surfed, and keeping him from ringing the bell again will be no small feat for his opponents.

But right now, none of those three are on my Fantasy Surfer team. My team for Bells is as follows:

Adriano de Souza:
No one has beaten Kelly more decisively in proper Bells conditions than Adriano. Watch out for this feisty Brazilian—right now he is 100 percent focused on ringing his own Bell this year.

Taj Burrow:
While still capable of matching the spark and innovation of the new guard, Taj is also among a small group of established competitors to have earned victories at Bells in recent years. That list also includes Andy, Parko, Mick, and Kelly—clearly Bells requires talent to win. Taj still has enough of gas in the tank to go the distance, so don’t give up on him yet.

Julian Wilson:
As Julian discovers the proper balance between surfing a smart, controlled heat and unleashing the kind of explosive maneuvers that set him apart, he becomes closer to not only an event win here, but also being held in a similar esteem to Taj and co.

Filipe Toledo:
At any time, in any heat, Filipe is capable of doing the impossible. This makes him a huge threat, especially with a light onshore wind at Rincon or Winkipop. In that situation, the rookie becomes the favorite.

Nat Young:
I kept Nat as my alternate in Fantasy Surfer for the first event, and he impressed us all with his maturity during multiple challenging heats at Snapper. Even more impressive was the variety of moves this experienced young goofyfooter has developed after years of fine tuning in Santa Cruz. Nat’s ability to carve and slash on his backhand as easily as his forehand sets him apart from every other goofy on Tour.

Dusty Payne:
The man is due for a breakout result on Tour. Overdue, actually, when considering the incredible talent he has to accompany the solid head on his shoulders. Plan on watching him figure out “the game” on his way to becoming a future contender. After watching Dusty mow the entire field at Margaret’s, I feel even better about putting him on my Fantasy Surfer team for Bells, and likely the rest of the year.

Sebastian Zietz:
Last year I watched him dismantle small rights during the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, and that form was on display at Snapper as well. Sebastian joins a small group of surfers capable of taking apart a quality wave for scores in the excellent range without even requiring his fins to leave the water.

Jordy Smith:
Compared to his competitors, Jordy stands alone with the most complete repertoire of power and tricks, as well as the rare ability to utilize them in a wide variety of conditions. Unfortunately, he seems to have knack for bringing out the best in his opponents and finding ways to lose close heats, so his potential remains mostly unrealized at this time.

Click here to pick your team for Fantasy Surfer now.

  • André Fraga

    Adriano is a feisty? you guys are some Americans bitches! Adriano is the athlete more focused and competitive of the tour, this year will shut up a lot of people… 😉

  • Marcelo

    I am brazilian, and this guy above embarrasses me! Shut up dude, please.
    Anyways, Shea is not going very far with his team…

  • Yanks

    Feisty is an adjective. In this case it’s a properly used adjective. Adriano is not even close to Kelly, Mick, or Joel’s level of focus. He takes the backseat to better surfers. This is the typical position for Brazilians.
    Good article Shea

  • Miguel Damas




    Having or showing exuberance and strong determination.
    Touchy and aggressive.

  • Marcelo

    *the guy bellow me

  • Ryan

    De Souza- no focus this year
    Jordy- no focus for the last 6 events
    Taj- hasnt made 1/4’s in the last 2 years here.
    Actually neither has Wilson
    I think your team needs Slater, Parko or Mick Shea.

  • Matt Barge

    Joel won’t be in trouble because he’s not light-footed, it’ll be because he does slopey roundhouses that the judges give weak points for.

  • Android

    what about Nicky Wood?

  • WS

    Adriano De Stinka has some power but his butt-squatting turns will be a liability if Bells is big and clean. Not to mention his claiming fist pump gayness for landing a standard floater.

  • Jesse

    remind me why i should listen to you following your picks from the first contest?

  • Argh

    @Yanks, Adriano has the same level of focus of all those guys you mentioned.
    And @andre Fraga, I’m brazilian as well, but please, go study some english, so you can avoid embarrassing yourself.

  • comeonshea

    Toledo – Talented, but can’t put together a heat at this level. Does little chicken-leg baby poop turns. Not quite a man yet, nor even as manly as Kolohe. Will get smoked if bells is properly smoking.
    Seabass – Style and skill for dayz, but lacks tactical thinking. Or just thinking. Too irie, brah. Shoots, why you tink dey call it da garden isle, ah? Irie-kine-no-worriez vibe is fine at pumping Chopes, not so much at marginal Bells, where thinking matters.
    Wilko – Good bet. (Edge goes to the beer belly and YOLO tattoo).
    Bede – Same. (Looking spunky, old boy!).
    Dusty – Carrying momentum from Margaret River. Guy’s a total douche, and I hate betting on him for that reason, but he’s in pretty top form right now. And cheap, too!
    Jordy – Who knows with this guy? Constant evoker of WTF. Gives me regular indigestion and shit fits. Fahhhk, Jordy. Come on, bru. Just put some heats together. You’re better than this. Say it in the mirror: “I’m better than this.”

    Slates/Mick/Joel — One of these guys will ring the bell. Surfing/training/strategizing at a different level. To not include one or two or all of them on your team for this particular contest is just contrarian tomfoolery, Mr. Lopez. The big boys are expensive for a reason.

  • Daniel

    Medina world champion 2013. When that becomes true, please remember you read first here.

  • Mik

    How can it be that surf blogs are still littered with imbeciles who critique WCT surfers by race or nationality? There is very little difference between Adriano and Mick Fanning. Both very athletic, fast, and precise. Mick has the better full-on roundhouse carves, but that’s about the only distinguishing factor. and Parko has a flawlessly smooth and radical roundhouse that I have hardly seen anyone else on the planet do… Except maybe Jordy… Which leads us back to bias on the WCT, and in this case it is bias in the judges booth. The same kind of bias that fucked over Taj a few years back, before the perpetrator was finally axed. What is it that the judges don’t like about Jordy???? I smell Aussie racism. There’s no other explanation. It’s a low and dense cloud of bigotry that used to hold back the Brazillians, and lingers on. Just read these stupid, moronic comments. Here’s the reality check blogdom: we all breath the same air, drink the same water, and are empowered in life by the same beating hearts. Evaluate by ability, not nationality, or move to Alabama where you won’t seem so out of place.

  • Danny

    @Mik – you just became my hero! Great comment and unfortunately so real! Keep it up bro!

  • wolf larsen

    @Mik, isn’t the judges panel international?

  • Mik


    yes, international, but two are Australian, and the others Hawaii and Brazil… So it’s hardly representational when that excludes the USA (!!!!!), and the EU (!!!!), and keeps OZ in the drivers seat bias-wise.

    Here’s their names:

    Richrad Porta Aus. / Pritamo Ahrendt Aus. / Dave Shipley Hawaii / Luli Periera Braz.

    Pretty small group… Apparently in more ways than one…

    Anyway, my rant isn’t just about judges, it’s the volume of racist comments in the blogs that disgusts me.

    It’s fine to not like someone’s style, but to generalize the hate against an entire Nationality is pathetically stupid. And then to see really talented Brazilian (or wherever) surfers underscored adds fuel to the fire.

  • Bridget Salisbury

    Adriano should not be allowed on tour, nor should any other surfer, whose stance width is more than two thirds their height.

  • Max

    I think Kelly wants seriously to win the 2013 world title and really go after Parko. I’d put these two in and agree Taj looks awesome. Medina & Adriano should be in as they are pushing each other hard now as both want to be the first Brazilian world champ. Jordy is getting great scores and J-Bay experience is a huge help at Bells.

  • Busted Boards

    Funny reading these comments as the quarter finals are set to happen with 5 of Shea’s picks in. He may just have this whole thing wrapped up actually…

  • Vector

    I was compelled to return to this article and congratulate you on the picks for the contest! To be honest I was a sceptic….But no more.

  • wamo

    I too was compelled to return to this page, because I’m still in utter disbelief of the results of the Bells comp. I too was a nay sayer about Shea’s picks. In hindsight, I’m still baffled at how he picked his team!